The required qualifications to serve as an executor or an administrator in an Illinois probate are:
- 18 years old or older;
- United States resident;
- Not of unsound mind;
- Not a convicted felon;
- Not under a disability.
The qualifications to serve as an administrator (when a decedent dies without a valid will) are found in 755 ILCS § 5/9-1.
Who Is Considered a Disabled Person Under the Illinois Probate Act?
One of the disqualifiers to serve as an executor or administrator of an Illinois probate is being disabled as defined in the Illinois Probate Act. This means that an executor or administrator of an Illinois estate cannot be someone who:
- Because of mental deterioration or physical incapacity is not fully able to manage his person or estate; or
- Is a person with mental illness or a person with a developmental disability and who because of his mental illness or developmental disability is not fully able to manage his person or estate; or
- Because of gambling, idleness, debauchery or excessive use of intoxicants or drugs, so spends or wastes his estate as to expose himself or his family to want or suffering; or
- Is diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects.
The definition of “person with a disability” is found in 755 ILCS § 5/11a-2.
Who Is Entitled To Preference To Serve As Administrator Of an Illinois Intestate Estate?
In a testate Illinois estate, the person entitled to serve as the executor is the person named in the decedent’s will. If that person is not qualified, or if the decedent dies without a will, then Illinois law provides an order of preference to determine who serves as the administrator or executor of the probate estate.
The order of preference to serve as administrator or executor in Illinois probate is:
- The surviving spouse or any person nominated by the surviving spouse.
- The legatees or any person nominated by them, with preference to legatees who are children.
- The children or any person nominated by them.
- The grandchildren or any person nominated by them.
- The parents or any person nominated by them.
- The brothers and sisters or any person nominated by them.
- The nearest kindred or any person nominated by them.
- The representative of the estate of a deceased ward.
- The Public Administrator.
- A creditor of the estate.
The order of preference in obtaining the issuance of letters of administration in Illinois probate is set forth in 755 ILCS § 5/9-3.
Can an Out-Of-State Resident Serve As Executor Or Administrator In Illinois Probate?
Yes, you do not have to be a resident of Illinois to serve as an executor or administrator in the state.
However, a nonresident executor or administrator may be subject to additional requirements, such as posting of a bond even if the will states that no bond is required. 755 ILCS § 5/6-13 (“The court may in its discretion require a nonresident executor to furnish a bond in such amount and with such surety as the court determines notwithstanding any contrary provision of the will.”).
An Illinois probate lawyer can help you determine whether you have priority and are qualified to serve as an executor or administrator in Illinois.